RISING Huddersfield Giants Super League star Josh Johnson has been named in the England Academy squad to face the Australian Institute of Sport in December.
News of the 17-year-old prop’s call-up comes a month after he signed a three-year full-time contract at the Galpharm, with his national Under 18s selection further evidence of his status within the game.
Despite his age, the former Waterhead and Saddleworth junior has already made his mark in the Giants’ Under 20s side.
And Huddersfield head coach Nathan Brown knows Johnson will gain invaluable experience from competing against Australia’s top young talent at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday, December 4.
“Josh is the first of what we hope will be a number of our junior players who will start to gain international recognition,” said a delighted Brown.
“He spent time training with us full-time last season and he was developing all the time, so we’re hopeful he’ll continue that development when he works with us on a daily basis next year.
“And, on top of that, he’ll also gain a tremendous amount from training as part of the England Academy set-up and then facing the best of what the Australian game has to offer at this level.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for Josh and a very fitting reward for the hard work he has been putting in during his time at the Giants. He deserves to do well.”
Many of those who play for the England Academy go on to become successful top-flight players, with Johnson part of a squad which has been made up of players from nine other Super League clubs.
St Helens have the largest contingent in the squad, with five youngsters represented while Bradford are close behind with four representatives and Warrington with three. Wigan, Leeds, Hull FC, Harlequins, Widnes and Wakefield are also represented.